Dynamic Earth and Global Change (GEOL 160)

This course provides an introduction to the materials and structure of the Earth and to the processes acting on and in the Earth to produce change. Emphasis is placed on the evolution of landforms and the formation of Earth resources. Discussions focus on the important role of geologic processes in the solution of environmental problems.

History and Evolution of the Earth (GEOL 165)

This course provides an overview of the Earth for the past 4.6 billion years. Students explore the concept of geologic time as they delve into the vast past of our evolving planet. Major emphasis is placed on tracking the evolution of life, from the simplest single-celled organisms of the ancient Earth to today's diverse floras and faunas. Another major focus is the linkage among abiotic and biotic systems, the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere did not and do not evolve independently. The laboratory component of this course is designed to familiarize students with the rocks and fossils that archive the history of Earth.

Mineralogy (GEOL 250)

This course examines the relationships between symmetry, chemistry, physical and optical properties, and occurrence of minerals. General cosmochemistry, geochemistry and crystal growth will also be discussed. Laboratory projects include crystal morphology and symmetry, optical mineralogy, x-ray diffraction, wet chemistry, and the identification of common rock-forming minerals.

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (GEOL 265)

This course focuses on sedimentary rocks and the stratigraphic record. Topics covered include the origin and classification of sediments and sedimentary rocks (siliciclatic and carbonate), sedimentary structures (physical and biogenic), diagenesis, facies models, and basin analysis. Students are introduced to the principles and practice of stratigraphy. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of ancient sedimentary environments.

Paleobiology (GEOL 300)

This course surveys the long history of life, as recorded by the fossil record. Students are introduced to the morphology and paleoecology of the major fossil groups (invertebrates and vertebrates) through discussions, labs, and readings. Students also learn the methods used to study the paleobiology and evolution of extinct organisms.

Seminar on Taphonomy and Sequence Stratigraphy (GEOL 394)

Any education in Geology involves a serious exploration of the rocks, landforms and weather in as many terrains as possible. The department frequently conducts field trips to local and regional areas of interest to provide students with hands-on experience and reinforce concepts being presented in our classes.  On occasion, the department has used the winter break to explore interesting terrains in the U.S. such as Basin and Range Geology in Death Valley, Big Bend National Park,  and Hawaii as well as international localities such as the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, and Iceland.